Steven Stamkos breaks through, scores when it mattered for Canada

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TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 27: Steven Stamkos #91 of Team Canada scores the game winning goal against Jaroslav Halak #41 of Team Europeduring Game One of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final series at Air Canada Centre on September 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 27: Steven Stamkos #91 of Team Canada scores the game winning goal against Jaroslav Halak #41 of Team Europeduring Game One of the World Cup of Hockey 2016 final series at Air Canada Centre on September 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images)

TORONTO – Ryan Getzlaf had a glorious scoring opportunity as he entered the Team Europe zone after stripping Zdeno Chara of the puck. The way defenseman Andrej Sekera was positioned, the Team Canada forward could have taken the shot himself to try and double their lead to 2-0, but he chose to pass.

“Unfortunately that’s kind of my mentality all the time,” Getzlaf said following Canada’s 3-1 win over Team Europe in Game 1 of the World Cup of Hockey final.

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Fortunately for Canada and Getzlaf, at the other end of that pass was a streaking Steven Stamkos, who had circled immediately toward the Team Europe zone after seeing the neutral zone turnover. Sekera tried to take away the pass to Stamkos, but Getzlaf found a lane.

“Obviously tonight was a pretty easy one but that’s the way it goes sometimes when you’re playing with great players,” Stamkos said. “Getzy is a world-class playmaker and he makes that play and it looks easy, but sometimes you need one of those to get some confidence back. I felt pretty good after that.”

Stamkos’ tally, his first, came on his 14th shot of the tournament, leaving Getzlaf and Ryan O’Reilly as the only Team Canada regulars remaining without goal.

The line of Stamkos, Getzlaf and John Tavares had only one goal in the tournament entering the final but were constantly creating scoring chances and dominating possession at times. Stamkos had joked that he was saving the goals for later in the World Cup.

“I’ve had a ton of chances. Easily, I could have had five or six goals this tournament,” Stamkos said. “Sometimes it takes a toll on your mentally and you get frustrated but I’ve been saying it all along as long as you’re getting the chances and playing the right way eventually it’s going to happen. I feel like our line has gotten has gotten better as this tournament has gone on and we’ve had some quality chances. It was just a matter of time. Obviously [it was] nice to see it go in in a game of this magnitude.”

That’s the thing about Canada at these best-on-best tournaments — they don’t have to worry if a Steven Stamkos isn’t scoring. When you have guys like Joe Thornton playing on the fourth line and Claude Giroux sitting as the odd-man out, the confidence and depth is there for any one to step up on any given night.

It also makes it easier for players like Stamkos to not stress about puck luck not going their way.

“When you have guys the caliber that we have on our team, we can roll four lines and expect offense from all four, so there’s not as much pressure, for sure,” Stamkos said. “But I think the most pressure as players is what we put on ourselves to go out there and perform. You want to do whatever you can to help your team win, especially at the stage we’re on right now. It was nice to see one go in and hopefully we can keep it going.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!